Sunday, September 18, 2016

When the Chaos Clears

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “When the smoke clears” which means as according to … “A way to say when everything’s finished and the results are seen.” This can relate to anything you’re working on or anything that will be demolished. Sometimes in life it’s easy to get distracted by what seems to be a lack of progress. The redundant tasks become boring and the increased responsibilities become taxing. Overtime, if you’re not cognizant of the work you’ve done, you will become discouraged especially if you’re looking at others who are progressing at a higher level. You can also become dissatisfied with yourself if those closest to you are not recognizing your sacrifices or achievements. While these presumptions can be easy to succumb to, there is a way that you can evaluate your progress without feeling like you’re a failure.

Go Back in Time

You can begin this step by thinking about the goals you set five or ten years ago then ask yourself these questions: 1) Is the project finished?, and 2) Where’s the evidence? If you do not have any concrete evidence of your accomplishment, then maybe it’s time for you to revisit the project where you left off or begin the project. However, if you have completed a degree program, and you have the certificate in a portfolio, you’re making progress. If you’ve cleared out a portion of your home where there was an abundance of things, you’re making progress. Finally, if you’ve paid several bills off or saved a significant portion of your income, you’re making progress. You may not be where you want to be in life, but if you’ve made some effort to move forward in some way and can actually see that you are further ahead than you were after you made the decision to make a change, you’re making progress.

John 10:10 says … “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This verse can refer to anything that is important to you including your perception of yourself. If you’re not getting the recognition or appreciation you feel you deserve, you can begin to recognize and appreciate yourself. You don’t have to wait on anyone to set goals, and you don’t have to wait for anyone to appreciate you. Encouragement begins within. You have a mouth, and you can use it to congratulate yourself. Recognize yourself starting today by smiling in the mirror and pat yourself on the shoulder.

You may be a little behind than you’d like to be in life, but each day you have the opportunity to live, make an effort to shift your thinking from failure to achiever. Your life may be hectic with a busy schedule, but when the chaos clears, you will be able to see the rewards of your diligent work. Stay in the race and try to resist negative thoughts about yourself. If you need a little help, A Summons for Champion Strength has a Daily Scripture Fitness Plan that can keep you encouraged.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Value Your Assets While You Still Have Time

Our nation was built on hard work and throughout this journey of developing our nation's infrastructure, a lot of emphasis has been placed on the importance of acquiring assets specifically tangible assets. While the acquisition of material things are a symbol of hard work and discipline, a significant amount of emphasis has not been placed on valuing relationships. While social media has provided pathways by which we can connect with one another instantly, all too often many of us miss opportunities to show people genuine love.

Time Regretted  

Recently, I was thinking about my friend Ronnie who I attended college with over 20 years ago. When I first saw him, I was immediately captivated by him. He was tall, handsome, and popular. When we met each other, he expressed his interest in getting to know me better. We kept in contact briefly, but never dated. Despite our failed attempts to develop a relationship due to our busy schedules and preoccupation with other dating relationships, we remained on good terms.

After transferring back to Michigan to continue my college education, he kept in contact with me over the following years to let me know that he was still thinking about me. When he first contacted me, I was shocked because I did not think I was that important to him because of our non-dating status and his popularity. However, he informed me that I was still at the forefront of his mind. Even after he told me this, I still devalued my worth to him because I thought he was joking. Although we had both moved on in different directions, it was nice to know that he did not forget about me even though we had not seen each other in years.

The last time he contacted me, he informed me that he would be coming to Michigan to visit his grandparents and asked if he could call me when he arrived. I agreed and anticipated his call, but he didn't call. Two and a half months later, I was informed that he had died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He was 29 years old. What seemed to be a routine friend welfare check call, turned out to be the last conversation I had with him. Ironically prior to his death, I had a dream about him walking toward a graveyard and looking up. Although I could not have predicted his death literally, I certainly wished that I could have spoken to him before his died, got to know him a little better, and prayed for him if I knew about his struggles. It's been over 15 years since that last phone call, and I still think about it as if it were yesterday. I cannot trace any online remnants of him because social media was not as prominent back then as it is now.

I also had this experience with two of my cousins who are now deceased. My cousin Ericka battled kidney failure for several years without my knowledge and when she died at age 36, it was a sudden shock for me. Again, I wished I had contacted her more frequently than I did, and I wished that she had contacted me as well to let me know about her struggles. When I had a dream about her being sick, it was too late, she had already passed. The same situation occurred with her older brother Jerome a few years later. If I had known about his ailments, I certainly would have made an effort to show him how much I cared.

These three people make me wonder how are they doing on the other side. It's been a long time, more than 15 years for Ronnie, eight for Ericka, and five for Jerome. I often wonder how much progress they would have made in their lives and if they would be happy. Ericka graduated from undergraduate school about a year or two before her demise, and Ronnie lived out his desire to live in Texas as he expressed so many times as being one of his goals. I wasn't as close to Jerome as I would have liked to have been, but I am sure that his desire for a better life was equally attainable before he made his transition.

Before Night Falls

Ephesians 5:16 says ... "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

Time is fleeting and the time we spend with others is more valuable than you think. I was very fortunate to survive a near fatal car accident eight years ago, a few months after my cousin Erika died. What seemed to be an average errand I was running for my mother turned out to be a life altering event that did not change overnight. Although the days and years that followed the accident were a battle I never thought I would have to contend with, I am grateful that I am still alive to contribute to society in a positive way.

Life is an asset that should not be taken for granted. You may be dealing with some type of conflict between your loved ones or friends, but I have found that you are only responsible for how you act and respond to others. Although we have ideals of how we want relationships to work, the only way you can make life better is to be the best person you can be. One thing I value the most in people is authencity. It's what I aim to live out each time I extend help or befriend someone. Life is too short to stay involved in messy relationships. Sort out the differences you have with each other, and if the other person does not want to agree to relationship repair, make an effort to always leave their presence with authencity. After they have settled down, he or she should be able to think about the time you spent together as one in which you gave them the best love, your attention, and service as opposed to leaving them hurt or devastated because of your words or actions.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:25 ... "Agree with thine adversary quickly," I have dealt with a conflicting relationship for quite some time, and when the conflict began, I thought I had to be right or attempt to change the other person's mindset. As time passed, and I had dealt with challenges of overcoming injuries from the car accident, I have been able to identify what's really important and what's not. My mother commented to me one day "I don't see how you can remain so calm" referring to this situation that I've been dealing with for more than a decade. I informed her that I enjoy peace and being headache free. It's not so much that the person has changed, but I have changed. Once I realized that the other person was determined not to change regarding a certain matter, I became mentally free. I accepted what this person told me he was not going to do and his actions of committing to his declaration. All I can do is my part in making the situation as peaceful as possible because I'm more concerned about my eternal outcome. A lot of people are dealing with health issues they don't have to deal with because they won't free themselves of trying to make people change.

A Call for Change

If you have caused significant damage in your relationships, it's not too late to amend your ways. Each day you have the opportunity to live, it should be a day in which you strive to change your language and actions. If you have lost loved ones and your relationships were not on good terms, value the loved ones or friends you have left.

Matthew 25:13 says ... "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Jesus may not return as soon or later as you think, but your demise may arrive when you least expected. Our society thrives on capitalism in order to function properly, however, we don't need to focus on capitalism to the point where we pretend to love others just to get what we want. Material assets are good to have, but material assets don't make you a quality person. You can't put a price tag on high quality character. People are generally remembered for their deeds whether good or bad not necessarily for their possessions which will be acquired by someone else to squander. Make an effort to enjoy life wholeheartedly knowing that you have done your best to please God and influence others to do the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Are You Guilty of Using Subconscious Comparison Guidelines?

II Corinthians 10:12 says For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Do you constantly find yourself comparing yourself with others who may be more successful than you? I've been guilty of this measurement process quite often. You may have struggled with your weight, hair, or creating the perfect style. Perhaps you've had challenges with trying to duplicate speaking, acting, or walking a certain way only to discover that whoever you were comparing yourself with also had flaws and their way of being just didn't work for you. 

The comparative analysis process does offer some benefits because we should never think that we are everything we should be and that there is no need for improvement especially when there are mentors in various sectors of society that can help us hone our skills and image presentation. However, comparing ourselves in an obsessive manner can prove to be detrimental to our well-being. By this, I mean you end up wasting time and energy trying to get everything right or perfect to gain other people's approval only to find out that they may not care as much about you as you care about them.

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses," and you may have found yourself doing this without realizing how you have missed the mark. Your friends and family members may have told you and you dismissed their suggestions to change. As time passed, you may have realized that they were right, and now you don't know how to be yourself. On the other hand, you may not feel comfortable with yourself because of the negative words that were spoken to you when you were a child, while you were in an unsupportive marriage, work-related, or personal relationship. Oftentimes, we have the tendency to carry negative words with us longer than positive words. When we choose this route, we turn within and become focused on superficial aspects of ourselves which God never intended us to do.

Despite how much time you've wasted in following or mimicing those who are distinctly opposite of the image or calling God wants you to display and live out, it's not to late to change.  If you’re having a hard time accepting who you are and what you have to offer, here’s an opportunity to discover effective techniques you can use to overcome shame based and comparative behavior. Dr. Brene Brown has an audiobook that addresses alternatives you can use to resist feeling unworthy by focusing on the joys of your life.

Although God created everyone in his image, he created you with a unique persona. If you're struggling with the idea that you're unique, just think about all the people who are missing out on receiving your love, words of encouragement, help with daily activities, and presence because you're too busy chasing and supporting other people's success or dreams. Let's make today the beginning of embracing your worthiness. Make time to develop the gift or talent God gave you. 

Streamlined Life Solutions

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